NEWS
09/17/2016 14:17 EDT | Updated 09/18/2017 01:12 EDT

Canada's wheelchair rugby team to play for Paralympic bronze after loss to U.S.

RIO DE JANEIRO — Canada's wheelchair rugby team had its heart set on gold after a silver-medal performance four years ago in London.

Instead, the Canadians will play for bronze at the Rio Paralympics after a 60-55 loss to their arch-rival Americans.

"It stings," said co-captain Trevor Hirschfield. "The last four years you're building forward towards Rio in hopes of securing that gold medal, and now that that's not a possibility, it hurts a bit, but tournament's not over. The sting will come after the tournament's over."

Zak Madell of Okotoks, Alta., scored 31 points in the loss, while Cody Caldwell of Peterborough, Ont., added seven. Canada will play Japan for bronze on Sunday.

Canada's rivalry with the Americans was chronicled in the Oscar-nominated documentary "Murderball," and little has changed.

Canada edged the Americans to win gold at last summer's Parapan Am Games in Toronto, and on Saturday, the teams matched each other virtually point for point before the U.S. broke open a six-point lead late in the game. Canada couldn't recover.

"We always have great games with them, it's a huge rivalry," said Miranda Biletski, a tear rolling down one cheek. "We knocked them out in 2014 worlds and (2012) Paralympics, so I'm sure they had this marked on the calendars and they were hungry. They didn't want a three-peat of us knocking them out in the semis."

Biletski, from Regina, is the lone female on Canada's team, but said "the guys are great, I inherited 11 brothers, we're a giant family and I love 'em to death."

Nicolas-Guy Turbide captured bronze in the men's S13 100-metre backstroke in 59.55 seconds. Ihar Boki of Belarus won gold in 56.68 while Ukraine's Iaroslav Denysenko finished second in 59.02.

On the track, wheelchair racer Michelle Stilwell of Parksville, B.C., sped to her second gold medal of the Games in winning the 100 metres. The gold was also No. 6 on an illustrious career for the former wheelchair basketball player, who helped that team to victory at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Canada's sailing squad captured a pair of medals at Guanabara Bay.

Married couple Jackie Gay and John McRoberts of Victoria won silver in the SKUD class, while the Sonar team of Paul Tingley of Halifax, Logan Campbell of Saskatoon, and Scott Lutes of Moncton, N.B., won bronze.